Magnanimous dog blossoms in foster care

Magnus the dog in a person's lap
Magnus’ foster caregivers showed this senior dog just how wonderful life can be.
By Christina London

If you saw a dog with his head stuck in a box, you’d probably assume it was a silly accident. But for Magnus, it’s completely on purpose. In foster care, this smart boy learned nose training — locating items by scent alone. It’s one of the ways his foster volunteers helped him gain the confidence he needed to land an adoptive family.

Senior dog finds his way

When 9-year-old Magnus first arrived at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Los Angeles, it was clear by his body language that he didn’t trust people. That made it tricky for Best Friends staff to find him the right family.

Magnus needed extra TLC to become the best dog he could be — and he would get it from dedicated volunteers in foster care. Best Friends’ goal is for all shelters nationwide to reach no-kill in 2025, and people who step up to foster pets, either with Best Friends or any animal rescue organization, play a vital part in reaching that goal.

In foster care, Magnus learned so many new things, including nose training. His foster caregiver would line up cardboard boxes with different items inside, and Magnus would use his super sniffer to find them. Before long, he was at the top of his class. (Sure, he was the only student, but that’s neither here nor there.) He had other tricks up his sleeve, too. Magnus practiced “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and “shake,” always receiving treats and head scratches for a job well done.

[Helping a shy dog spice up his social life]

Magnus wasn’t just learning impressive skills; he was experiencing the world in new and exciting ways. From darting around the dog park to feeling the breeze on his face during car rides, he embraced every new experience wholeheartedly. He even seemed to appreciate a beautiful sunset.

But what did Magnus love most? Attention — and lots of it. This dog, who once wanted nothing to do with people, couldn’t get enough affection, whether it was belly rubs, chin scratches, or couch snuggles. He wasn’t shy about asking for it either. He would make an adorable rumble sound to let his caregivers know that it was time to love on Magnus.

Magnanimous Magnus

The word magnanimous describes someone who is noble and courageous. Magnus always had a magnanimous spirit inside; he just needed a little help to bring it out. Soon after returning from foster care, Magnus was adopted. Everyone celebrated the occasion with a party, complete with a special doggy cake and party hat for the guest of honor.

[Faces of No-Kill: Senior dog is lucky in love]

Today, Magnus is enjoying life with his new family. He’s the same smart and playful guy he was in foster care, often bringing a toy to his people in hopes of starting a game of fetch or tug. He loves giving kisses and could cuddle on the couch for hours. This sweet senior is finally home.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill in 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill in 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

You can help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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